According to new guidelines from the American Dental Association, in most cases, adults don’t need to take antibiotics for a toothache
Even though patients with toothaches are often prescribed antibiotics to help ease symptoms and prevent more problems, healthy adults should generally have dental treatment instead of antibiotics, according to the ADA guidance published in the Journal of the American Dental Association.
“Antibiotics should not be used until infection progresses enough that it can no longer be treated with only dental treatment like a nonsurgical root canal,” said Peter Lockhart, chair of the ADA expert panel that developed the guidelines and a research professor at Carolinas Medical Center – Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Signs and symptoms of this progression include fever, swollen lymph nodes, facial swelling and extreme tiredness.”
These recommendations apply to healthy adults. They are not intended to stop antibiotic use altogether, according to the ADA guidelines. The intent is to minimize overuse and the rise of more antibiotic-resistant infections by limiting antibiotic use to cases when these drugs are absolutely necessary.
Why Do Patients Go to ER
Dental pain and swelling are the most common reason that patients go to the emergency room or doctor’s office for oral health problems. Patients may have occasional sharp pain and a fever, or they might experience constant dull or severe pain.
Dentists often prescribe antibiotics to relieve dental pain and swelling. General and specialty dentists are the third-highest prescribers of antibiotics in all outpatient settings in the United States, according to the ADA.
Studies have shown that antibiotics, which are designed to stop or slow the growth of bacterial infections, don’t necessarily help patients experiencing a toothache. In addition, antibiotics can cause serious side effects, and overuse has resulted in bacterial strains that are resistant to antibiotics.
Now antibiotics may still make sense when dental treatments aren’t immediately available and the patient has signs and symptoms of an urgent problem like fever, swollen lymph nodes, or extreme exhaustion. But in most cases when adults have a toothache and access to dental treatment, antibiotics may actually do more harm than good.
Pain from a toothache may be eased by over-the-counter remedies like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
We here at Dr. Max Lingo’s office agree. Slow down with the antibiotics. Some dentists are in a rush to prescribe them. That being said, if you feel that you need your teeth aligned please contact Dr. Max L Lingo, Evansville, Indiana dentist. Let them explain your options. If you feel that you need a dental implant or any other service, contact our office now if you need bonding & filling, cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, dentures & partials, extractions, sedation dentistry, teeth whitening, teeth cleaning, plaque removal and more.